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TORONTO – “The Eves government is imposing what amounts to a tax on seniors, but instead of improving long-term care, the money from a 15% hike in fees will impoverish seniors and line the pockets of private nursing home operators,” said CUPE Ontario President, Sid Ryan.

The Eves government recently announced that they will be allowing nursing home operators to increase the fees for residents by 15%. Government officials had recommended that the increase be between 1%-2%. The change will be effective August 1, 2002.

“The Tories want to get out of subsidizing care for our seniors so they’re making seniors subsidize themselves. Call it a tax on seniors, or a user fee - it doesn’t matter. The bottom line is that this is an attack on the people that built our nation, raised our children and worked for our benefit. And, we’re treating them like this? It’s just wrong,” said Ryan. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that if you make profit the incentive and take away minimum standards and any accountability for nursing home operators, seniors lose. They deserve much better than that. We owe them much better than that.”

“There is no accountability for where the money goes,” says Connie Welsh, Chair of the Ontario Homes Bargaining Council of CUPE Ontario. “What we have in our nursing homes is assembly line care for our clients. Now, with this hike in fees, our clients and their families will expect an improvement in care, but they don’t realize that this money is only going to improve the profit margin of private sector nursing home operators.”

Ethel Meade, Co-Chair of the Ontario Coalition of Senior Citizens Organizations, paints a bleak picture of the impact this 15% hike will have on seniors.

“It’s reached the point where only seniors who can afford to hire a private assistant get good care,” said Meade. “Some married seniors have already started to go through the very painful process of a voluntary legal separation from their spouse because, as a couple, they can’t afford to live in a nursing home on a fixed pension.”

“The fact is that most seniors are on fixed incomes and can’t afford this increase, and neither can their children,” added Ryan. “The only way that we will guarantee that any money goes toward improving the care of seniors is to have legislation that spells out minimum hours of care. The Tories took that away from seniors. They have to put it back.”


For more information contact:
Sid Ryan, President, CUPE Ontario
Dean Williams, CUPE Communications